Recap: Moses Sumney Delivers Stunning Set at the El Rey
show recap

Moses Sumney is a genius. Great, we got that out of the way.

I landed on such a ridiculous phrase because there are only so many descriptors I could use without sounding worship-y. The brilliance of Sumney is trifold: his voice, his music and his presence all project something totally transportive. His voice feels so incredibly free in that its movement between registers and octaves feels absolutely effortless — the kind of ease we only see in the greats. By looping harmony over harmony, Sumney constructs soundscapes that act with total envelopment. Watching it happen was like falling into a deep pool and when it ends there’s really no describing the feeling of being so totally surrounded by something and yet floating at the same time. Towards the beginning of the night he stopped mid song to say, “I don’t want to hear a whisper.” The request was met with total silence, and with how enraptured we were, he probably could have asked us to do most anything. He triggers a change in gravity — a suspension of time — and when a song ended it was like coming back to earth.

He joked throughout, poking fun at his hometown which isn’t LA exactly, but somewhere a little further out — San Bernardino. His songs often deal with the fact that there was really nothing to do except, as one of the song titles suggests, “make out in my car.” Yet I get the feeling that the song is not exactly biographical. His observations are often sad, and in a way that’s what he set out to do. With an album called Aromanticism (experiencing little or no romantic attraction), it’s clear that he doesn’t claim the “it gets better” kind of narrative. In a way, it makes connecting with the music that much more comforting, knowing that even the most prolific of people feel less than.

Check out the highlights below. You can find more information on his tour here


photo by: Gigie Hall